In wrestling both New Paltz and Highland crowned four Section 9 champions in Division 2 (small school) competition. For New Paltz it was Eric Januskiewicz at 103 pounds, Corey Neckatopolous at 125, John Ferrante at 140 and Pete Ferrante at 145; for Highland it was Jorge Chardon at 112, Chris Pflaum at 189, Peter Behnke at 215 and Vinny Barber (defeating the Huguenots’ Kyle Roberts) at 285. Barber also got to the State semifinal round before losing to the eventual State Champion.
In boys’ swimming, New Paltz’s Hunter Bartlett and Eric Culver both doubled in Section 9, with Bartlett winning the 200 Individual Medley and the 100 breaststroke and Culver the 200 and 500 freestyle. The Huguenots sent a record 12 swimmers to the New York State Meet and the team finished second overall -- the best-ever for New Paltz.
The Highland softball team rode the arms of Carly Bilchak and Jenna D’Ercole, and the hitting of Alyssa Abrahamsen, Bilchak, Jen Porter and Megan Murphy, to the Section 9 Class B title, defeating archrival Marlboro 1-0 behind D’Ercole’s brilliant six-strike out one-hitter. The Huskies lost to Dobbs Ferry in a State opening round game.
In MHAL track, New Paltz’s Erik Simonson doubled in winning the 400 and 400 hurdles and anchored the winning 3200 relay team, while teammates Brian Busby captured the 3200, Sarah Cook the triple jump and Naomi Bouchard the pentathlon. For Highland, Kelly Hugo took home the long jump crown. In the Section 9 Class B meet a week later, New Paltz’s Gabby Mancuso won the 3000 and 2000 steeplechase, Sarah Cook the triple jump and Bouchard the pentathlon, as the New Paltz girls captured the Section title. For the boys -- tied with Ellenville for the Section title -- it was Simonson winning the 400, Hunter Bartlett the 800, Busby the 1600 and 3200 and Brian Majestic the high jump. New Paltz also won the 1600 and 3200 relays. Kelly Hugo of Highland repeated her winning performance in the high jump.
In baseball, both New Paltz and Highland made it to the Section 9 finals: the Huguenots in Class A, the Huskies in B, with -- unfortunately for the New Paltz and Highland faithful -- both taking a loss. New Paltz rode the hot bat of Jon Diaz, the pitching of Conor Probst and the MHAL’s top infield to Section 9 wins over Monticello and Saugerties, before falling heavily to top-ranked Cornwall. Highland -- the number six seed -- rode the arms of freshman Max Cruz and senior Cody Weaver to big wins over O’Neill and Onteora, before being crushed by Marlboro 14-3.
In fall soccer, the Highland girls -- reunited with long-time coach Pete Watkins after a six-year hiatus -- won yet another Section 9 Class B title with a dramatic 5-4 shootout win over Spackenkill. The winning goal was kicked by Kristi Benicase and the winning save was made by goalkeeper Steph Porter, who tipped the potential tying goal into the cross bar.
And in football, New Paltz played arguably its best game in many-a-year in defeating Marlboro 13-0 for the Section 9 Class B title, and holding the Dukes to just 45 total yards for the game. Freshman phenom Khariff Laboy broke open the game with a 45-yard touchdown run. The following week Croton did much the same thing to the Huguenots in a State Quarterfinal, holding New Paltz to 75 total yards in advancing to a State Semifinal game with a 27-0 win.
In cross country both the New Paltz boys and girls took home the gold in the MHAL and Section 9 meets, with Brian Busby running away with both titles. Busby then finished sixth at the State Meet in Pawling.
And in girls’ tennis the Huguenots got a big boost from second singles Emma Snook and third singles Johanna Cohen, who doubled up and wound up winning New Paltz’s first league title since 2003 and also finished third in Section 9 - which was a New Paltz first in girls tennis.